Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nigerian Art Patron Tayo Adenirokun: RIP

Tayo Adenirokun (1954-2011)
Aderokun, with Mayor of London and Shonibare at the Trafalgar Square, London: Photo, courtesy
 The great Nigerian arts patron Tayo Aderinokun, MFR, has died. Easily one of the truly self-effacing but important art patrons Nigerian has ever seen, his death is a major blow to the arts and culture industry in Nigeria. Mr. Aderinokun was until his death the CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank. He, along with Fola Adeola founded the GTB in 1990, and literally changed the face of the banking industry in Nigeria: the bank HQ in Victoria Island was at the time a fresh breath in the architectural landscape of the city, and the entire place was filled with soaring paintings of Adeola's favorite painter Abraham Uyovbisere. I fell in love (bought shares, and opened accounts) with the GTB!. Adeola sponsored the irreverent "Statements" exhibition by Olu Oguibe in 1989 at the Lebanese Cultural Center in Ikoyi--a show that, in the shadow of the dictatorship, many were too scared to associate with. And just last year, among the many incredible things these two men did personally and through the GTB, Aderinokun was there at the Trafalgar Square for the unveiling of Yinka Shonibare's Nelson's Ship in a Bottle, his project for the famous 4th Plinth, sponsored by the GTB. What was so refreshing about Aderinokun was the genuine and natural commitment to the arts, and if you ask me the good name he and Adeola  made for themselves and for their bank, partly explains why the latter turned out to be--according to reports--perhaps Nigeria's most successful bank today.

Aderinokun's transition is a major loss Nigeria, and of course to his family. Go well.

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